Wednesdays are simplicity days at SimpleProductivity blog.
I want you to think about your favorite electronic device. Now think about what would happen if you suddenly couldn’t use it.What would you do if you lost your computer hard drive? Or your smart phone fell into puddle? Or someone stole your laptop?
You need a safety net. Here is how to make one.
Professional Design Backups
In the IT industry, backups are a big deal. Backups are taken regularly as a scheduled job, backed up into a directory and then transferred to tape, which is then taken off-site and stored in a secure location. Let’s look at the aspects of this.
The first thing any IT person will tell you is to let the computers do the work. Human memory is fallible. Having the computer itself do the backup eliminates the possibility of the operator forgetting.
Local Back Ups
Most backup routines have the backup files located somewhere locally. This gives anyone who needs access to these recent backups a chance to get them without undue difficulty. These backups are generally stored local to the network for 5 to 7 days.
Backups are also stored on alternate media. This is to ensure that if the hardware for the local backups fails, there is still a copy. Most places still use tape because it is portable.
Once the tapes and backups are past the window of most likely use, they are stored offsite. Most storage facilities are fire, heat and waterproof, ensuring that natural disasters will have little impact on these backups.
Getting Professional Style Backups At Home
It’s not difficult to movement backups at home that have these features. For simplicity’s sake, I will focus on computer backups, but the same methods can be applied to smart phones and tablets.
Every operating system has a built-in way to schedule tasks. You can use this if you choose, or you can use a backup program that has a scheduler built in. Either way, it is important that you set up the task to run regularly.
For Windows users, you also have the ability to wake the computer from sleep to run the backups, which means that you don’t have to worry about backing up during your prime working time.
The simplest way to have local backups is to copy your files to an external hard drive. With storage space so cheap these days (you can get a terabyte for $100), there is no reason not to backup to a drive attached to your computer. Why not backup to another location on your disk, you might ask? If the hard drive fails, there goes your backup.
For really important files, it might be worth considering burning them to a CD or DVD from time to time. Obviously, I am not talking about the latest weather email, but things like pictures, tax documents and videos are good candidates. By having these files on a mo permanent media, you will not be as susceptible to a power surge taking everything out.
I make backups of our pictures put them in a fire-proof safe.
The ultimate protection against weather catastrophes and disasters is to keep your files out of the immediate area, in a location that is well-guarded against disasters. Many people choose to out their files in the “cloud” for that reason.
Please, thought, if you are doing this, make sure that the files are secure, and that the location of the servers storing your information is somewhere other than where you are. This is one time when you don’t want to patronize a local business!
My important working files (writing, blogging) are backed up using Dropbox. For really important files that I have backed up on CD, I mail a copy to my mother, who lives far away from me.
All In One Solutions
Luckily there are many solutions that provide all of the above features in one package. I personally use Mozy, which schedules the backups and does them automatically, stores a copy on my external hard drive, as well as puts them in the cloud. Mozy has saved me on a few occasions, including the time it restored my novel working files on day 20 of National Novel Writing Month.
A good friend of mine swears by Carbonite, whose services had her up and running within hours from a hardware failure.
Whatever you decide, choose a backup option that works well for you. Professional-style backups are not beyond anyone’s reach in this day and age, and you can get all the features using simple software packages.
How do you do backups? Is there a solution you favor? Share below,
Photo by Ranjith Siji